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Braun: Once again, Al Davis digs fast hole for Raiders

first_imgI was raised to love sports, but Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders are making it really difficult for me to like football right about now.You talk about running a franchise the way you run your life. You have a plan, you make smart decisions, and most importantly, you learn from your mistakes.Apparently, those running the silver and black would be the biggest failures at life, not to mention operating a sports franchise. Those who watched the NFL Draft this past Saturday know exactly what I’m talking about, and while you might be laughing at the Raider Nation, I’m sitting, thinking and wondering why I still support a franchise that seemingly wants to lose.To those who didn’t watch the draft, here’s what you missed: With the seventh overall pick in the draft, Oakland selected Darrius Heyward-Bey, the quick-footed wide receiver out of Maryland.OK, maybe quick-footed doesn’t do Heyward-Bey justice. I mean, he was the fasted player in the entire draft, being clocked at 4.3 for his 40-yard dash — now that’s fast.Oh wait, whoops! Did Al forget that Michael Crabtree, by far the best wide receiver in the draft, was still on the board? Surely, if the Raiders were intent on taking a receiver in the first round, they would choose the best one, right?Considering Crabtree caught more touchdowns last season (19) than Heyward-Bey did in his three years at Maryland (12) is a bit concerning. Simply put, most Raiders fans are probably thinking along the lines of “FML.” I know I am.Taking a look at Oakland’s past several drafts, we can see this trend of picking fast players. It started in 2005, when the Raiders selected Fabian Washington, a solid cornerback for Nebraska, ran a 4.29 40-yard dash, the fastest in that draft as well.Not a terrible pick, but in the second round, the Raiders took Stanford Routt, another speedster; that one didn’t work out as well for Oakland.This year, though, the Raiders really outdid themselves. Aside from picking a receiver over Crabtree, they made even worse picks in the following two rounds. Heyward-Bey at least did well in college and earned a 91 grade from ESPN.Michael Mitchell — Oakland’s second round pick — is absolutely the worst selection by any team in the draft. Not only was he not expected to be drafted, but also he was so irrelevant at the start of the draft that ESPN didn’t even give him a grade.I mean this guy is so irrelevant he wasn’t even invited to the NFL Combine. He had to run his 40-yard dash on his Pro Day. He did impress, posting a 4.43 mark.But that even furthers my point. To what point can speed really make that much of a difference for a football team that has been struggling like none other since it lost the Super Bowl in 2003? One can argue every other team in the NFL is improving except for the Raiders, and the sole reason can be blamed on their poor drafting technique.That, and the fact that Mel Kiper Jr., bad hairdo aside, informed the ESPN viewers that Mitchell would have been lucky to be signed after the draft was over made me even more distraught.Still questioning my reasoning for being a Raiders fan following this debacle, I still wonder what Davis is thinking, and if Oakland will ever get out of this funk. As of now, if they think they have more speed, then the Raiders are simply racing themselves to the cellar of the NFL.For now, let’s enjoy watching the fastest losers any major sport has to offer. You can thank Al Davis for that entertainment.Jonah is a sophomore majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Are the Raiders really that bad? Can speed really save the Raiders franchise? Send your thoughts to jbraun@badgerherald.com.last_img read more